Risk vs.Hazard

If you walk across our campus you will find children climbing high, jumping off of things, scrambling rocks, and participating in risky behavior. You will also see the teachers allowing this to happen. At Carmel Mountain Preschool we have a risk versus hazard approach when it comes to play. Playing is a great time for children to find their limits, build confidence, develop resiliency, and figure out their own risk management skills.

Risk is “the possibility that something bad or unpleasant (such as injury or a loss) will happen.” A hazard is “a potential source of harm or danger” where danger is “something that may cause injury or harm”. Basically, if this child falls, will it require a band aid or will it break their neck. If the teacher sees the worst injury being a scrape, they will allow the child to take the risk. If the teacher sees the potential for a bigger injury they will intervene.

Say for example, a child is playing in our rock river, the teacher will tell the child “I want to let you know this rock is slippery, if you step on it you could fall.” Then they will step back and allow the child to continue playing. We describe the activity and the potential risk. If the child is climbing on top of the monkey bars we may ask what their plan is to get down or point to any objects below them that can hurt if they jump onto it.

The main objective is to always keep the children safe without giving them cause of anxiety or thinking they cannot do a task. To encourage them to try something even if it means falling. To build their confidence and to learn from their mistakes.

risk hazard

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